Bishop Zach and Orin, his wife, welcomed us into their home. Orin took me out back and demonstrated how she twice daily milks the cow that she was able to purchase with the gifts that Truth Encounter provided last year. As we walked to the house she told me her version of the Black Mamba story I wrote about earlier this spring.
“I got up in the night and went outside for some fresh air. When I walked back in, a large snake had rapped itself around my leg. Zach was sleeping but soon he was wide awake. When I tried to shake the snake off, it bit me. Zach quickly killed it but my leg was already swelling. We tied a tourniquet around my leg to keep the venom from spreading and then tried to get to the hospital. Our house is out in the country and in the middle of the night, it wasn’t going to be a quick trip. A friend with a motorcycle got us out to the main road where we jumped into another vehicle and rushed to the hospital.” Then Zach picked up the story. “The doctors looked at the wound and knew immediately the cause. Praise God they had the antivenom but told me I would have to pay before they would administer it. I prayed, ’Dear Lord, please don’t let my wife die simply because I don’t have the money.’”
Snakebites have an available cure, but the professional healers withhold it. As Jesus reclined at the dinner table with some religious legal experts, it wasn’t snake antivenom He accused them of withholding. It was access to the only Savior who can provide the antivenom to the serpent’s strike. Not only were they withholding the cure, they were trying to murder Him.
“Woe to you because you build the tombs of prophets—prophets your fathers murdered. Therefore you witness against yourselves. The fact that you are building these tombs demonstrates that you agree with the works of your fathers.
It’s because of this that God’s wisdom said, ‘I sent you prophets and certified messengers. Some of them you murdered and others you persecuted. Because of this history of murder this generation will bear the guilt of all the blood shed from the foundations of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zecahariah who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.
Woe to you experts in the Law for you take away the key of knowledge. You not only fail to enter yourselves, but you prevent those who are entering.” - Luke 11:47-52
Why was Jesus so hard on these men eating dinner with Him? They were the religious leaders of his day. They should have been the ones encouraging people to receive Jesus and His Kingdom. Instead, they were plotting to murder Him. Jesus reveals that the Old Testament told the story of the murder and rejection of the true messengers God sent to His people. In the climax of the Story Jesus will be murdered, but God will turn the tables on the Snake, and the cross will be the antivenom that can save us all.
After Zach prayed he checked his bank account. A gift from Truth Encounter had arrived just in time and was exactly what Zach needed to save Orin’s life.
LORD, thanks for reminding me of the hardnosed reality that I live in a world where even religious leaders can be filled with covetousness, jealousy, and a hate so vicious that they will try to prevent others from coming to Jesus.
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